A sad eight-year-old boy who tried to kill himself with scissors wrote a heartbreaking series of notes about ‘wanting to be normal’ has been waiting weeks for help, according to his family.
The family of Jack Rogan, who is autistic, said he had started saying ‘please everyone forget me’, ‘burn me alive’ and other shocking things over the past year.
Mother Kerry Linnell, 43, from Dovecot, Liverpool, said she took him straight to Alder Hey Children’s Hospital in October after he tried to hurt himself with the scissors.
But she said doctors told her there were no beds available on its specialist unit, even though they agreed his distress was severe.
Ms Linnell said Jack had been put on a ward with no mental health treatment and was still there seven weeks later.
She said her had written the heartbreaking messages over the past year, while she has also noted down some of the shocking things he had said.
Liverpool FC stars paid a visit to the young Everton fan this week and Ms Linnell praised the ‘amazing’ ward staff, but said they were not trained to properly support him.
Liverpool MP Luciana Berger said Jack’s case highlighted a huge children’s mental health crisis, telling Parliament last night emergency admissions were at record highs but many prevention services had been slashed.
Friends of the family have launched a ‘Justice for Jack’ Facebook page and a petition calling for more beds for children with mental health problems.
Ms Linnell said Jack had started talking about taking his life after struggling to cope at a new school last year.
She said: ‘It’s a terrible situation, and it just tears me apart I’m not able to give him what he needs.
‘Jack has written notes begging me to kill him, asking who he is, ‘why am I such a bad person’ and ‘please everyone forget me’.
‘He asked why he had no friends and said he wanted to be put in the ground with RIP over him.
‘As he’s getting older he realises how different the world is to him, and it makes him feel like a bad person.
‘He would kick and punch me, pull my hair, bite himself and try to pull his ear off. Then he’d start sobbing afterwards and start saying those things.’
She said she went to A&E as she did not know what to do, even with her own experiences as a former support worker and previous frustrated efforts to find other help for Jack.
She said she had slept by his side on a couch in hospital since his admission in late October to stop him harming himself, and had been forced to give up work to care for him.
Ms Berger, Labour MP for Wavertree and shadow minister for mental health, said in Parliament new government plans did nothing for young children like Jack.
She said she feared young people like Jack ‘faced years of torment, anguish and pain, made worse by the fact so much of it is preventable’.
She added: ‘We are leaving a generation in pain; they are being let down because the care is not there. I believe that Ministers have failed to meet the scale of the challenge.’
An Alder Hey spokesman said: ‘Alder Hey is commissioned to provide an inpatient service for children and young people under 13 with the most complex mental health conditions.
‘Our specialist Dewi Jones Unit is based in Waterloo and is one of only six units solely dedicated to children’s mental health conditions in the country.
‘There are seven specialist beds within the Unit which are commissioned nationally by NHS England.
‘There is a significant demand for paediatric mental health services across the country and there are challenges nationally in meeting this demand which we are working hard with NHS colleagues to address.
‘There is currently a waiting list for our inpatient service and we liaise closely with NHS England and Liverpool Clinical Commissioning Group, together with our patients and families, to ensure children with mental health conditions continue to be provided with appropriate care.
‘Our priority is always to ensure that children remain safe and cared for while we work hard behind the scenes to provide a specialist bed as soon as possible.
‘During this time, we always strive to provide as much support as possible to our patients and their families.’
Jackie Doyle-Price, Conservative minister for care and mental health, said new government plans included waiting time targets, a recruitment drive and investment in bringing services together.
She said: ‘Last year we saw a 20 per cent increase in the amount spent on children and young people’s mental health.
‘With over £300m available, we will train a senior designated mental health lead in every school and college to improve prevention work.
‘We intend to be treating 70,000 more children and young people by 2021.’